Festival of Europe (May 9, 2011)
"On the occasion of Europe Day on May 9, I want to review the results and advances achieved by Europe in the past 12 months.
Last May, the Greek debt crisis was at its height and was creating significant threats to the euro and the future of European construction. Once again, with our backs to the wall, Europe succeeded in mobilizing its means and inventing the necessary tools to meet the challenge. It created a European Financial Stability Facility, which will be renewed in 2013 (...) to help member states who need it. It also tackled the roots of the crisis, taking on governance and the euro zone: the reworking of the stability pact, the adoption of the European "semester" and the negotiation of the euro-plus pact aimed at reestablishing the economic pillar of the economic and monetary union that had been missing these past 10 years.
Externally, the past year saw the establishment of the European External Action Service: the Council decision establishing the organization and operation of the EEAS was adopted by the Council of European Foreign Ministers on July 26, 2010, following lengthy negotiations conducted by Ms. Ashton with Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament. Recruitment began in the fall of 2010 with the appointment of our compatriot Pierre Vimont as secretary-general. The EEAS officially entered into service on December 1, 2010. The creation of this new institution just a year after the Lisbon Treaty entered into force is indeed a sign that Europe is moving forward and wants to give itself the means to collectively influence changes in the world.
Europe is moving forward, it is preserving its place in the world, it is responding to the aspirations of our fellow citizens and it protects them. Happy Europe Day!"